W: Sabathia (2-0)
L: Holland (2-1)
S: Rivera (4)
Yankee fans! I just want to give you all a big hug! This was a great game for the team all of the way around. C. C. showed up to pitch 8 solid innings. Mariano finally got some work in, a perfect ninth inning. And if all of that wasn’t enough, Derek Jeter continued to spurn the haters and the people who say he’s too old by getting four of the Yankees total nine hits and bringing his batting average to .411. .411! The number is inflated because the baseball season is only 1/10th finished, but that’s still something to write home about. This series is seen by many as New York’s first test as to how good they are this season, playing the best team in baseball leads to that expectation. But, the Bombers came, they saw, they conquered…in game 1.
- Derek Jeter has always been a hitter pitchers fear. Especially in clutch situations, you feel like there’s a supernatural force that’s on his side. But, he shows why he belongs in the leadoff slot with 30 hits in the first 16 games; the man is going to get on base! Monday, he had his second 4-hit game and his 13th RBI of the season. 13 RBI is second-highest on the team to Nick Swisher (21), who hits second in the order. Goes to show that the whole batting order is getting on base.
- C. C. Sabathia needed a good outing against Texas. He pitched pretty much lights out (I consider 2 runs in 6 innings good the way these starters have been going so far) until the seventh. He had a moment of weakness as he gave up a walk to Nelson Cruz, then back-to-back doubles to Brandon Snyder and Craig Gentry to allow two runs. However, he came back in the eighth and got three grounders to the infield to essentially put the game in the win column for the Yankees. This was the morale boost he and the team needed.
- Backup catcher Chris Stewart, who played 67 games last year for the San Francisco Giants after Buster Posey broke his leg, had a better offensive outing than expected (1-for-3, 2 runs scored, 1 walk). I had no idea who this kid was when I first saw him come to bat, but so far I’m glad the Yankees have him. The post-Posada catcher situation has gone better than I originally thought it would. Although primary backstop Russell Martin has been stagnant at the dish this year (.179 batting average, 7 hits and 11 strikeouts), it’s not the panicky void I anticipated. Way to go Cashman!
- Since I usually only have 3 ‘winnahs’, Josh Hamilton gets an honorable mention for his monster home run in the sixth inning and for hitting over .400 this season. All of this especially after his alcohol relapse in the offseason made people question whether his Cinderella story would come to an end. Luckily for him, he’s still going strong.
- Derek Holland gave up as many runs on Monday (7) than he had in his previous three starts (2-0). I understand it’s easy to make the losing pitcher a ‘losah’ every night, but he just didn’t have it. As the ESPN broadcasting crew said, he was missing with his fastball, but for some reason, was reluctant to go to his second best pitch. He gave up four walks and had only one strikeout. He is definitely a good enough pitcher to rebound from this start. I really enjoyed seeing his friendly persona when ESPN showed his cameo during a weathercast at Dallas TV station WFAA.
- The Rangers offense just didn’t show up. They had seven hits, eight strikeouts and left eight men on base. The team is still batting .298 on the season, so this series certainly isn’t over. I would not be surprised if they exploded during one of the remaining games, scoring over 10 runs.
- There’s really not another ‘losah’ to name. It just didn’t happen for Texas on Monday whereas it did for New York. These teams are very evenly matched and will be fun to watch for the rest of the season.
- It is very cool that Yankees’ outfielder Andruw Jones warmed up in the field before Monday’s game with one fortunate fan in the stands.
- Here is an awesome GIF of Nick Swisher celebrating during the epic comeback against Boston on Saturday. He is happiness incarnate.
- The New Jersey Nets ended their 35-year stay in New Jersey Monday night. Kim Kardashian’s ex-husband and the rest of the team will be playing in Brooklyn next year. It was fitting that they got blown out by the Philadelphia 76ers 105-87 because the team’s glory days (Bruce Springsteen pun intended) were few and far between. I was lucky enough to be in New Jersey when they enjoyed the run with Jason Kidd, Kenyon Martin and Richard Jefferson and I was an instant bandwagon fan. Who couldn’t love Kidd’s kiss to his (now ex-) wife Joumana before every free throw? And his (then) little son TJ? Martin was a crazy beast who would say the first thing that came to his mind, but had insane talent. Jefferson was the quiet one who just drained threes on command. Those were great years! Pictures from Sports Illustrated of the Nets through the years.
Yours in pinstripes.